Distance Running News, 13-17 May

Cheltenham Harriers middle distance runners James Brewer and Mia O’Connell both claimed wins at the British Milers Club Grand Prix in Manchester. Having missed the entire 2014 season, Brewer returned to the track in the 1500m B race where he passed through the bell in 2:47. A 59 second last lap took him comfortably clear of the field to take the victory in 3:46.25. In the women’s 1500m B race O’Connell ran a great tactical race as she stayed in touch with the leaders to lie in fourth place with one lap remaining. By the 1200m mark the 20 year old has had moved up into third, before hitting the front and pulling clear at the 200m mark for a 4:27.21 victory which was a personal best by three and a half seconds. James Miller contested the 1500m F race where he recorded 4:05.70 for eleventh place. At the Highgate Harriers 10,000m meeting which incorporated the national championships, Alex Bampton recorded a time of 32:39.88 for nineteenth place in the C race. Also on the track the club’s Youth Development League fixture in Cardiff saw Dmitry Nazarenko win the 3000m in 9:17.30 and Jacob Pickering equal his PB of 2:05.1 for fifth place.

On the roads Jon Barnes took the honours as he claimed victory in the final mile of the Tewkesbury Half Marathon. After a relatively steady start of the race, Barnes and Clevedon’s Luke Murray established themselves at the front and ran together for the first 12 miles, with Barnes content to let his rival set the pace for most of the way. Barnes then burst clear and quickly established a lead which Murray was unable to close, with the Cheltenham athlete crossing the line in 75:34 for a seven second winning margin. Matt Evans ran well to finish sixth after he saw off the challenge of teammate Andy Gore in the closing stages. Evans’ time of 80:26 was just outside his PB and put him fifteen seconds and one place ahead of Gore who was the second veteran home. New recruit Marcus England took ninth in 81.07 before Jay Dowding came home in eleventh in 82:35 and Steve Hall returned in 82.58. Richard Birch (86:55), Jo Wilkie (95:43), Debbie Smith (1:42:09) and Michael Imeson (2:01:10) completed the Harriers squad. At the Cheltenham parkrun the barcodeless James Bingham took the win for the second consecutive week in 16:48 and Gareth Edwards recorded a time of 19:46.

Earlier in the week Richard Dare put an impressive performance to set a new personal best as he finished third in the Gloucestershire 5000m Championship at the Prince of Wales Stadium. A lead group of four remained together until the final 200m before Harry Bishop (Severn) and Will Ferguson (CLC) sprinted clear leaving Dare to finish marginally ahead of Jack Turner (Stroud) as the pair both clocked times of 15:40.0. Jon Barnes ran the whole race in an isolated fifth place, but showed a return to form with a track PB of 16:01.6. The next three places were also filled with Cheltenham runners as veteran Marc Fallows (16:17.4) managed to stay ahead of Roger Mullins (16:18.9) before Alex Lee took over half a minute off his PB with 16:24.8. Harriers also filled all the places from eleventh to fifteenth with Mark James running well for 16:31.6 ahead of Gavin McCaugherty who set a track PB of 17:02.4. Andy Gore then broke Miguel Mundinano’s vet 45 club record with 17:07.6 to finish ahead of Jacob Pickering (17:13.0) and Steve Maguire (17:22.0). Ian Giles (18:05.4) completed the host club’s contingent in the A race which saw wheelchair athlete Ed Grazier lead the runners home in 15:21.2. In the 5000m B race vet 70 runner Martin Ford finished fifth in 19:30.5. In the ladies 3000m race Rachel See finished third in 11:48.8, Jess Collins recorded 13:54.9 and guest runner Dmitry Nazarenko ran a lonely 9:16.4. Meanwhile on the road Russell Forsbrook finished tenth in the Yeovil 5k in 16:37.